Last night I finally watched “The Human Centipede: First Sequence” on my iPad. The movie is about a wealthy German psycho-surgeon and his desire to stitch three human beings together, to create a human centipede.
When the German psycho-surgeon is asked if he has a wife, he responds slowly, painfully, automatically, clearly: “No. I…don’t…like…human…beings.” Which sums him (and the movie) up pretty well, as does this photo of our post-Nazi psycho anti-hero running around his backyard with his human centipede…
In any case, what movie critic Roger Ebert said about the film begins to explain why I like it so much. He wrote: “I am required to award stars to the movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.”
I like that.
I like that which can’t be understood, which can’t be gauged by our typical ways of gauging and that is certainly my first reaction to “The Human Centipede.” When it began, I was thinking, “uh, this is a David Lynch film?” Five minutes later, I was thinking, “eh, this is a porno flick?” Eight minutes later, I was thinking, “ah, is this just your typical horror movie?” For the rest of the movie I was just thinking, “WHAT THE FUCK?”
So I praise it, and I think it is important—for the same reason many a people think Skrillex, “Breaking Bad,” and Sasha Grey are so amazing. It just feels refreshingly different from what has come before it, albeit the last horror film I saw was “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” which is pretty much my point precisely.
Amy Adams is old…pushing 40. She’s a mom and she’s boring…but she’s a redhead who isn’t scary to look at, which is a rare occurrence and probably why she works in Hollywood, because when they find them, they have to scoop them up and exploit them.
Her claim to fame was some Disney shit, and Lois Lane in “Man of Steel,” so I guess her career is at it’s peak after what was probably 20 years of working at it.
You probably immediately guessed who Johnny Depp could play. Doctor Strange is the obvious casting, and we’ve been hearing rumors of a Doctor Strange movie
in 2016 as part of Marvel’s Phase 3 for a while. Now Latino Review—source of many of the previous Doctor Strange rumors—says Johnny Depp has met with Marvel
about the role.The 50-year-old actor is a comic book fan, and is said to be very interested in jumping onto the Marvel machine. Johnny Depp also happens to have a very fruitful relationship with Marvel’s owner, Disney. While they have Depp on the hook for another “Pirates of the Caribbeans” film, it is believed they would shift that production around if he does agree to sign on the dotted line for Marvel.
Latino Review adds that, although the original script called for a 30-year-old to play Doctor Strange, they’d gladly rewrite it to land a star of Johnny Depp’s caliber. As for that script, last we heard it would be an origin story in which Strange deals with the guilt of letting his sister die.
We’re hoping this rumor proves to be true, as we can’t imagine anyone more obvious for the role. I mean, just look at the banner picture. It’s like he’s already wearing his Doctor Strange casual attire. He takes off some of the jewelry and puts on a luxurious cape only when he means business. And business is good.
Let’s get back into the nitty gritty of judging movies based solely on their names and maybe their posters or commercials, if I’ve seen them. Totally valid form of film criticism.
What the hell is this? Why would I want to see more? And, can this really be called a horror film?
My track record as an ardent supporter of horror movies is well documented, to the point where I’ve been known to go to the mat in support of the genre because I truly believe that visual filmmaking at its purest can be found in a great horror film. Framing, editing, lighting, and music are the tools that have been so brilliantly manipulated by masters like Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Fisher, Polanski, Powell, Young, Carpenter, Craven, and, although bloody as hell, both Argento and Romero.
In a nutshell: It’s films like this that give horror a bad name. This is a big and unequivocal no thank you.
BOY GIRL BAKLA TOMBOY
I’m going to hate-watch this film in theaters. I’m going to purposefully have a horrible day, order some food at the theaters that I know is not on the menu, and stomp toward my dumb front-row seat, drinkless and foodless, ready to watch “Boy Girl Bakla Tomboy.” If I walk out with a smile on my face, then, and only then, will I say something nice about this movie. Can’t wait.
In a nutshell: I care even less about “Boy Girl Bakla Tomboy” than “Pagpag.” That is not a nice thing to say.
MY LITTLE BOSSINGS
You know how some movies look kind of neglected? Not just financially or marketing-wise. I’m talking about the kind of movie that just looks as if no conscious human has ever actually given five minutes of critical thinking to any of the decisions that go into making it? If a studio is a grill on a hot summer day, “My Little Bossings” is the lone hotdog on the edge that gets neglected for hours and never rotated to go over the coals and then when you accidentally serve it to someone they bite into it and it’s still cold inside.
In a nutshell: This was the worst part of my week.
506 times. The word “FUCK” is said in The Wolf of Wall Street 506 times. That’s 2.8 times a minute. Variety reports:
Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” is all about excess. From orgies on a plane to cocaine and cash (or “fun coupons” as Leonardo DiCaprio’s character calls them), the financial drama thrives in taking it up a notch. So it should be no surprise that Paramount’s R-rated film sets the all-time record for the use of the f-word.
According to Wikipedia, the word “fuck” is used 506 times over “The Wolf of Wall Street’s” 180-minute running time. Previously, the record for a non-documentary was Spike Lee’s 1999 film “Summer of Sam” with 435 instances. “Wolf of Wall Street” isn’t the first time Scorsese, 72, has dabbled in the profane. The Oscar-winning director has two other projects in the f-word top 20, including “Casino” (422) and “Goodfellas” (300).
I'm surprised a Quentin Tarantino movie doesn’t hold this record because the f-word is his second favorite word behind the n-word. I’m also pretty surprised this record hasn’t been broken by a guy who has to play the romantic love interest in a Sarah Jessica Parker movie. But I guess you can’t count them if they’re not in the script and just screamed into a pillow.
2013, as far as movie years go, were an embarrassment…of riches, I mean! So much so, in fact, that I’m still scrambling to catch up enough to feel okay about posting my top ten list I keep getting emails about (NOTE: I have gotten NO emails about that). Fortunately, I’m all done watching the crappy movies of the year.
In honor of this milestone, today I’m bringing you the five movies that I feel most personally let down by from the past year. With the caveat that I’m not including “Man of Steel” because enough already, and because I pretty much walked into that one with my eyes wide open.
So, here are five movies from 2013 that are just a regular embarrassment.
You know, I remember enjoying this movie while I was watching it in the theatre. Now, though, I’m hard pressed to remember anything from it, save a couple of cool action beats. I don’t think I’m alone, as “Elysium” didn’t set the world on fire, and certainly not to the same degree as “District 9.” I remember a couple of common complaints—Jodie Foster’s accent, a general sense of “preachiness”—but my own main issue was the movie just took itself too damn seriously.
This is a flick that desperately wants to be a fun, nasty satire like “Robocop,” but betrays that by shoehorning in unearned emotions too often.
A bit of context: I think “Tangled” is a surprisingly engaging movie. Shallow, a bit, but a lot of fun. Now, I realize that a lot of people also liked this movie. I just don’t understand why. While there’s nothing damningly, horribly wrong with it, it’s one of those common family movies saddled with a pervasive “paint-by-numbers” feel. Things just…happen, not because the story demands it or because it enlightens the themes of the story, but because they’re simply supposed to.
3. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
Look, the first “Star Trek” was a messy affair, but it managed to work in spite of itself. In 2009, Abrams and his cast imbued the highly anticipated reboot with a sense of genuine enthusiasm. The story may have been unlikely, but its characters were memorable, fun, and the absolute point of the film. “Into Darkness,” on the other hand, constantly eschews delving into character stuff in favor of tedious conspiracy-laden plot machinations.
Nobody has clear motives, no actions have consequence. Losing rank, messing up, FUCKING DYING…none of it matters. It’s more than telling that “Into Darkness” has almost the exact same ending as “Star Trek.” What, exactly, have we accomplished here? Nothing.
2. OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Okay, I don’t think anybody expected this movie to succeed in comparison to the 1939 classic. Nor did anybody really think that the Sam Raimi who made “Evil Dead” and the first two Spider-Man movies was back, let alone working at Disney. I just hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as, you know, that recent “Alice in Wonderland” debacle.
Sadly, “Oz” feels like nothing so much as a Raimi-flavored “Alice” clone. Some of his usual bits of flair (camera tricks, horror iconography) fill in the edges of the frame, but nothing about his sensibilities is truly front-and-center.
Hopefully this marks the bottom of Raimi’s career. I don’t blame him for this entirely—“Oz” has all the signs of a movie that’s been micromanaged and focus-grouped to death. Not unlike “Spider-Man 3” in that regard.
1. THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Though Marvel’s been on a bit of a hot streak since the first “Iron Man,” their run hasn’t been flawless. “The Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man 2” were pretty weak. Still, Joss Whedon coming aboard and delivering the goods with “The Avengers” seemed to indicate that Marvel had this thing figured out. As they moved into Phase 2, Shane Black’s sensational “Iron Man 3” only seemed to confirm it. And then “Thor: The Dark World” came and ruined the party for everybody.
Anyway, as with “Frozen,” my understanding is that this movie has a decent amount of fans out there. Even more than that movie, I simply don’t know what the appeal is. This is easily the vaguest movie Marvel has put out so far. Things like Thor’s arc, the motives of the villain, the purpose of Jane and her companions are technically included, but rarely defined and never particularly clear. Oh, and the movie desperately wants to be a rollicking comedy but sadly has no idea how to tell a joke.
Also, I like goofy fantasy as much as anybody, but the fantasy in “The Dark World” has no significance. These other realms are presented in the sketchiest forms possible; the texture and color of a well-developed world simply isn’t there.
The one selling point? Loki.
While Hollywood may have gotten lazy in many regards in this day and age, there’s perhaps no better example of this than the slow decline of movie posters into complete and utter nonsense.
The video below is a careful look at trends in past and present poster-making, and really serves to show just how bad things have gotten. Photoshop has made us lazy, with poster-makers having us swimming in a sea of teal and orange and giant floating heads. And sometimes, floating robot heads.
Hollywood worships the almighty dollar, probably because it’s run by the Jews. It’s hard to get an original film made these days, probably because the studios don’t want to pony up the dough for anything but a blockbuster. Sure, everyone made fun of Disney’s tentpole strategy after “The Lone Ranger” lost a bunch of money, but it’s not hard to see why the strategy exists, especially when eight of the top 10 grossing films of 2013 were sequels or reboots.
1. Iron Man 3 – $1.215b
2. Despicable Me 2 – $918m
3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $795m
4. Fast & Furious 6 – $788m
5. Monsters University – $743m
6. Man of Steel – $662m
7. Gravity – $653m
8. Thor: The Dark World – $629m
9. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $614m
10. The Croods – $587m (BoxOfficeMojo)
Meanwhile, 2013’s total box office gross was up .7% from 2012
(not a huge increase, but 2012 set the all-time record and had four billion-dollar grossing films). Much as I’d like to see more original films, like “Gravity,” a lot of the sequels and reboots on this list weren’t that bad.
“Iron Man 3” had all the requisite, mostly-pointless-to-the-story trailer moments and obnoxious Gwyneth Paltrow subplots, but it was so Shane Black-y that I couldn’t help but love it. The second “Hunger Games” was also much better than the first, and “Thor: The Dark World” was every bit as idiotic and fun as you’d hope for a space-Viking movie. My take away from this is that Hollywood is getting better at executing their shit concepts, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing.
Here’s 2012’s top 10, for comparison:
1. The Avengers
2. The Dark Knight Rises
3. The Hunger Games
5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
7. The Amazing Spider-Man
10. Madagascar 3 (BoxOfficeMojo)
Last year also only had two that weren’t sequels or reboots, and one of them was “Ted.” I’d call that a modest improvement.
I’m still trying to see everything that came out in 2013 to make my ten best movies of the year list, but I’m all set to go for my annual top trailers countdown, as I’ve spent the weekend attempting to recall which spots were the most memorable of 2013.
This may be cheating a bit, to simply make one of the most intense scenes from your movie the trailer, but it was a probably the most effective spot Gravity could have crafted. Using the initial disaster where the Hubble is destroyed by debris and showing Bullock floating out into space was usually ten times as gripping as whatever full-length movie was actually following the trailer.
4. IRON MAN 3
I may not have been as gaga about Iron Man 3 as everyone else, but the Mandarin voice-over trailer for the film was simply incredible, and it did a great job tearing down Tony Stark/Iron Man, and making him seem vulnerable and broken by the end.
3. MAN OF STEEL
No one does a blockbuster trailer like Zack Snyder, and he has three separate spots for Man of Steel that were all fantastic. I think my favorite is the final trailer. Any trailer that can consistently give me the chills the way this did is worthy of a high spot on this list.
2. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
I haven’t gotten around to seeing The Wolf of Wall Street, but the “Black Skinhead” based trailer is far and away one of the best of the year, and was a better ad for Kanye’s Yeezus album than anything else he possibly could have done himself.
1. THE GREAT GATSBY
I just realized that Leo DiCaprio is in both of my top two movies here, though I doubt he had anything to do with the creation of either trailer. Rather, this time instead of Martin Scorsese, he’s paired with Baz Lurhmann who made The Great Gatsby look like it was going to be one of the most impressive, overblown films of the year. The Gatsby trailer doesn’t have just one great song, but three, and expert editing blends the modern music with the period of the film in a way only Baz Luhrmann can. Alas, the final product was less than memorable, and sometimes movies work far better in three-minute trailers, rather than three-hour features.
Here’s the trailer for “The Other Woman,” which stars Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann as two women who realize that other guys will always ignore them for Kate Upton. There might be more plot details, but I was distracted by the very manipulative use of slow motion while Kate is jogging on the beach. It’s the kind of scene that could stop some evil terrorists from blowing up the entire world, because just as they’re about to push the button on their arsenal of nukes, Kate would jog by in slow motion, and they’d realize that America had it right this whole time. Thanks for saving the world, Kate Upton’s breasts.